District 95 institues new assessment day procedure
October 18, 2011
Filed under News
Tomorrow, October 19, marks a new procedure for standardized testing at LZHS: an assessment day for freshmen, sophomores, and juniors, as opposed the two-day testing of past years.
Tomorrow morning, freshmen will take the PLAN test while sophomores and juniors take a retired ACT exam. Seniors will not have to come into school until 11:20, at which time a revised schedule of 21 minute periods will run until the normal end of the school day.
“The changes were made over the summer,” Eric Hamilton, assistant principal of curriculum and instruction, said. “The old system left out the freshmen during testing days.”
Hamilton said the main goal of the assessment day is to gather data about the students’ academic strengths and weaknesses in order to better address areas in need of attention. For instance, the scores sophomores and juniors receive on the retired ACT will help the school learn what areas of the ACT students struggle with the most.
Hamilton also said the new test day format is an attempt to cut down on time taken away from teachers during the course of the year. In the past, the PLAN and PSAT testing interrupted two days of instructional time. This year, in addition to tomorrow’s single day of assessment, the school moved a second test day to the weekend. The PSAT was on October 14, rather than a school day.
“This year, we are trying to reduce the amount of interruptions that occur to [teachers’] instructional time,” Hamilton said in an email to faculty.
Several teachers say they appreciate this new policy, including Michaela Towne, Spanish teacher. Towne said she is grateful to have only one day interrupted by testing, and also to have a shortened schedule in its entirety rather than switching the period times like in the past.
“The new schedule helps with planning because we don’t have to plan for only having some of our classes,” Towne said.
In other years, if a teacher taught a sophomore class during periods 2, 3, and 8, the teacher would not have students periods 2 and 3 due to testing, but still have period 8. In order to have all the classes on the same lesson schedule, the teacher would have to miss a day of instruction with period 8 as well, according to Towne, even though the students would be present.
The new assessment day change will avoid this conflict entirely, giving teachers a full, shortened schedule so all classes are ‘on the same page.’
Many students believe the assessment day is a positive change as well. Jeremy Whetstone, sophomore, believes that while having the PSAT on a Saturday is less convenient for students, the overall change will benefit the school.
“[The past format of testing days] was more convenient for [students], but…[with the new procedure], they can better assess our school and focus on our needs and weaknesses,” Whetstone said.
Laurel Wenckowski, freshmen, agrees with Whetstone and said that while she never got to experience the previous test day format, she will experience the new format throughout her four years at LZHS, and she believes the assessment day is a beneficial change.
“I think it’s a good idea,” Wenckowski said. “I think it’s less stress on the teachers and less stress on the students, and just less things that are problematic to all of us.”
- 7:55-9:00 – students check in and code answer documents (four-year plan and interest inventory)
- 9:05-9:35 – PLAN English Test
- 9:35-10:15 – PLAN Math Test
- 10:15-10:30 – 15 minute break
- 10:30-10:50 – PLAN Reading Test
- 10:50-11:15 – PLAN Science Test
Sophomores and Juniors:
- 7:55-8:05 – Student check in and code answer documents
- 8:05-8:50 – ACT English Test
- 8:50-9:50 – ACT Math Test
- 9:50-10:05 – 15 minute break
- 10:05-10:40 – ACT Reading Test
- 10:40 – 11:15 – ACT Science Test
Period 3: 11:20-11:41
Period 4: 11:46-12:07
Period 5: 12:12-12:33
Period 6: 12:38-12:59
Period 7: 1:04-1:25
Period 8: 1:30-1:51
Period 1: 1:56-2:17
Period 2: 2:22-2:43
Period 9: 2:48-3:11